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Delaware Department of

Specialty Crop Block Grant Program

Grant Program Overview

The USDA defines specialty crops as fruits, vegetables, tree nuts, dried fruits, horticulture, and nursery crops (including floriculture). Through funding provided for under the Farm Bill and managed by USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service, the  Specialty Crop Block Grant Program funds projects that solely enhance the competitiveness of Delaware’s specialty crop industry.

USDA considers enhancing the competitiveness of specialty crops through:

  1. Leveraging efforts to market and promote specialty crops;
  2. Assisting producers with research and development relevant to specialty crops;
  3. Expanding availability and access to specialty crops; and
  4. Addressing local, regional, and national challenges confronting specialty crop producers.

The Delaware Department of Agriculture manages a competitive solicitation process to award the Specialty Crop Block Grant Program. Individual producers, producer groups, organizations, associations, state and local organizations, academia, and other specialty crops stakeholders are eligible to apply, either as single entities or in combined efforts. Projects should benefit the specialty crop industry as a whole and provide a positive impact with measurable outcomes.


Grant Priorities

multiple varieties of egg plant grown in Delaware
A visit to a farmers’ market offers an inside look at many of the Delaware Grown specialty crops produced by our family farms.

The Delaware Department of Agriculture is looking for grant projects that solely increase the competitiveness of Delaware grown specialty crops, sustain the livelihood of Delaware farmers and strengthen Delaware’s economy in regard to the following priorities specified by the USDA:

• Enhancing food safety;
• Food safety compliance to address specialty crop buyer requirements for mitigating food safety risks.
• Investing in specialty crop research, including research to focus on conservation and environmental outcomes;
• Developing new and improved seed varieties and specialty crops;
• Pest and disease control;
• Protecting and improving pollinator health;
• Increasing child and adult nutrition knowledge and consumption of specialty crops;
• Increasing opportunities for new and beginning farmers;
• Improving efficiency and reducing costs of distribution systems;
• Developing local and regional food systems;
• Improving food access in underserved communities and among veterans;
• Increasing urban agriculture and other emerging agricultural practices by bringing food production into busy, populated areas – such as vertical gardens, shipping container farms, rooftop farming, hydroponics, community gardens, community composting, and food waste reduction.


2022 Specialty Crop Block Grant Documents

2022 Delaware Request for Proposal- Farm Bill Funding

2022 Attachment A – Application Cover Sheet

2022 Project Profile Template

2022 SCBGP Performance Measures

Sample State Plan with examples of grant proposals


2022 Timeline

February  7, 2022 Release of Request for Proposals
February 14, 2022, at 10:00am Grant workshop held virtually/online
March 25, 2022, no later than 4:30 pm Grant proposals due to DDA
April 7, 2022 Evaluation Team to select proposals to be included in
Delaware’s State Plan
May 3, 2022 State Plan submitted to AMS/USDA
September 30, 2022 Anticipated AMS/USDA approval
October 15, 2022 Grant agreements completed
November 1, 2022 Anticipated Project start date (subject to change)
September 29, 2025 All projects conclude


For more information or to apply for this grant, please contact Ese Jessa at the Delaware Department of Agriculture at  (302) 698-4592 or by email at ese.jessa@delaware.gov.

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